For Andy Murray it was a step too far against the imperious Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros in Paris.
The Serb beat the Scot 3-6 6-3 6-3 6-4 for his first French Open championship while joining the greats to hold every Grand Slam – Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open are the others – at the same time.
Murray is up there with the best – he has won the US Open and Wimbledon and it would have been his first French title.
But Djokovic just has that edge.
Head to head they have played 34 times and Djokovic has been victorious 24-10.
At the very top small things matter and Djokovic’s aggression, accuracy, slightly better serve and ability to move Murray about the court that bit more than he himself was forced to do so by Murray saw him come out on top.
“It is a very special moment in my career,” he announced at the end after collapsing flat on his back in joy, marking out a heart in the clay dust in tribute to all those watching, handing his racquet to a member of the crowd and praising Murray for pressing him so close.
Murray won the first set and fought hard, but it wasn’t meant to be.
He was magnanimous in defeat.
Of Djokavic, he noted with respect: “What he has done in the last 12 months has been phenomenal. It is an amazing achievement. It is so rare in tennis.
“It sucks to lose the match but I am proud to be part of this day.”
Coached by Boris Becker, himself a six time Grand Slam winner, this was Djokavic’s 12th success and he is closing in on Roger Federer’s 17.
He is the eighth player in history to have won all four after Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Budge and Laver are the only male players to have accomplished the feat at the same time, and Laver did it twice, in 1962 as an amateur and 1969 as a professional.
Djokovic could yet claim a calendar Grand Slam if he can defend his titles at Wimbledon, which begins later this month, and the US Open in September.
He is now in the hall of fame, yet even great players get nervous, losing two championship points in the final game, one a double fault, to bring it back to juice … before putting Murray away.
Aged 29, there is still time, and he certainly has the steel, to go yet higher.
For Murray, his is a fantastic career – only the tenth man since the game went fully open in 1968 to make all four major finals.
In the women’s, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza beat world number one Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam title.
The 22-year-old, who lost to Williams in last year’s Wimbledon final, got her revenge 7-5 6-4.
Williams, aged 34, had hoped to take a 22nd Grand Slam singles title and tie Steffi Graf’s Open-era record.
Now she must believe she can achieve it at this year’s Wimbledon which runs from Monday June 27 to Sunday July 10.
Her performance there will tell sport how close we are to the end of an era.
Williams battled hard throughout and could, perhaps should, have taken the first set. But from there her opponent dominated.
Muguruza said: “I’m so happy. I had to be very ready and concentrated on all the points and just to fight as much as I could.”
Williams suffered only her sixth defeat in 27 Grand Slam finals stretching back to 1999, but did not blame injury issues.
“It was OK,” she said. “I’m not one to ever make excuses. At the end of the day I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did.
“She won the first set by one point. I mean, that just goes to show you that you really have to play the big points well, and she played the big points really well.”
The great American has now missed out in three consecutive Grand Slams but remains a formidable prospect for all she comes up against on court.
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